Over a period of three years, Zurich is celebrating 500 years of Reformation with a multi-faceted festival, which focuses on the perceptible impact of the Reformation and how it has shaped society in modern-day Zurich. In the 16th century, under Huldrych Zwingli and his successor, Heinrich Bullinger, Zurich became the birthplace and center of the Reformation in Germanspeaking Switzerland. This all happened in very close reach of PLATZHIRSCH Hotel & Bar in the middle of the old town of Zurich.
Hulrych Zwingli, the Revolutionary
Huldrych Zwingli came to Zurich in 1519 to work as a pastor, and he began to preach a whole new interpretation of the Word of God. He shared Martin Luther’s view that everything that was not mentioned in the original version of the Bible should be banned from religious life. Thus he did away with holy images, singing hymns and fasting for Lent in the churches, and spoke out against the veneration of relics, celibacy and the Eucharist. In addition, he sought to eliminate the selling of indulgences and the practice of mercenary soldiers.
Afflent Switzerland Thanks to the Reformation?
From 1530, the citizens of Zurich were subjected to a whole series of strict moral mandates:
- the wearing of high-fitting clothing
- strict division of gender roles
- compulsory attendance at Sunday services
- closure of inns and taverns at 9.00pm
At first sight, this seems very strict and disagreeable, but at the same time these rules and regulations laid the foundations for the affluent Switzerland that we know today. Zwingli advocated a new work ethic – diligence, discipline, thrift and frugality – and introduced a social welfare system to look after the poorest and most disadvantaged people. And while subsequently the first factories, new commercial enterprises and international trade established themselves in the Protestant areas, the Catholic cantons continued to be characterized by impoverished farming communities, which had to give their already meagre income to the all the more ostentatious Catholic churches.
In Zurich, numerous references and memorial sites bear witness to the Reformation – such as the most important churches, statues or places where the Reformers lived or preached. A guided tour through the historical Old Town is an absolute must for anyone interested in the subject.
Stay comfortable at the PLATZHIRSCH Hotel and explore Zurichs Reformation History, all within walking distance.